After the U.S. government issued a stern warning about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) role in the Russia-Ukraine war, the CCP criticized NATO in its domestic propaganda for using Ukraine to fight a proxy war. However, its stance internationally was ambiguous. The CCP adopts different propaganda strategies and focuses when targeting different audiences.
The day after U.S. President Joe Biden and CCP leader Xi Jinping ended their phone call on March 19, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said at the International Forum on Strategy and Security at Tsinghua University in Beijing that NATO and the United States should be held responsible for the Russia-Ukraine war.
Le also said that when discussing the reason for the “rekindling of war” in Europe, one “should reflect on the Cold War mentality and power politics,” and that NATO should disappear in history like the Warsaw Pact, instead of being more united and threatening Russia’s security with its eastward expansion.
Le claimed that NATO and the United States are using Ukraine to fight a proxy war, which is “extremely immoral,” and criticized the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy as “provoking troubles everywhere.”
Compared with Le’s tough and offensive remarks, Qin Gang, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, was low-key and reserved when facing the American media on March 20, two days after the Biden-Xi call. Qin was ambiguous in explaining Beijing’s position on the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Qin stated in an exclusive interview with CBS on March 20 that the CCP would not provide arms and ammunition to support Russia’s war against Ukraine and would provide help to ease the crisis.
When asked why the CCP could not publicly condemn the Russian aggression, Qin said it was naive and useless to do so. The host asked, “If it doesn’t condemn and prevent Russia from advancing the war, how can (Beijing) help?” Qin replied, but did not directly answer the question.
On the same issue, two CCP officials made different statements on different occasions, inside and outside the country, reflecting how the CCP’s propaganda system adopts completely different strategies when addressing different audiences.
Le’s remarks were aimed at the Chinese people. His rhetoric was tough and full of struggle, reflecting the propaganda strategy of inciting and brainwashing China’s people with the “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy” model. Qin’s remarks were aimed at American political circles, international media circles, and foreigners, his rhetoric was moderate and flexible, vague on key sensitive issues, and embodies another type of CCP propaganda tactic.
Le also revealed that the CCP wants to see the world situation show differentiation, rather than unite under common universal values. He also alluded to the post-World War II international order dominated by the United States and its Western allies as a “small circle” that undermined regional security and stability.
Ji Da, an expert on China based in the United States, said that the regime is against universal values. It is a destroyer of the current world order. It does not want Western countries to unite. The CCP needs to divide and disintegrate the relationships between the EU, and other European countries, and the United States, as an isolated and divided world will facilitate the CCP’s goal of “divide and conquer.”